Chapter 7: The End
One cycle during a council meeting, every Program stood and stared as the worst feeling the System could output threaded through them. The Council members that could see all turned to stare out the widow at the end of the hallway through the door.
The end was coming.
They didn't know when, but it was coming.
Immediately the room erupted into chaos! The council members save Yori and Dumont all ran about and declared immediate lockdown of the fortress! They decided that they would survive within it, and, being as there were far too many Programs within in the System to host there, no-one else was allowed in.
Yori stood slowly after the initial shock wore off then ran for the window and jumped out! Feeling the wind against her skin was exhilarating as she fell! She landed on the "grass" below and stood, looking up, passed the clouds to the "roof" of their world. Her mind went blank, peaceful, as she enjoyed the light of the System, her home, drank in the sight of it, it would be her last time. Her eyes closed and she just "felt" the System, the feeling it had always resonated within its residents, and calmed herself, allowing her breathing to become slow as she savoured this precious moment.
She let her anger for the Council's uncaring of other's lives and their cowardice wash away from her while se stood within her "field of green" as it was fondly called. They were frightened, she understood this, it wasn't their fault, and she couldn't fault them for it. But, she knew, hiding away would not spare them. When the format came, all would be lost. It seemed appropriate anyway, as most of them never left the fortress.
Slowly opening her eyes, they were glazed as she hazily took in her surroundings, all they had created, all of the lives here, would soon be gone. In the distance she could make out the trees that she and her co-workers had created, and beyond that, the small village that she and them and the architectural Programs had created, the first born's house at the forefront.
Then, a familiar feeling washed over her as someone approached and Dumont's voice rang through the air softly. "Yori, come back to the fortress, where you can be safe." His love for her shining though his voice, and his worry. He cared about her so much he wanted to see her safe above everyone else in the System, but it wasn't something she could do.
Without turning to him, she continued to look peacefully out at the small town and spoke softly. "You're free to go back to the fortress to be safe if you wish. But I'm not leaving." Her last was resolute, she was going to stay and protect the people, it was something she could never back away from. But she felt the same way he felt about her, she wanted him to stay alive, so, if he had a chance in the fortress, she would rather he went back to it.
Dumont sighed with a smile and shook his head. "If you're staying, then I am too."
Yori smiled and turned back to look at him then. He wore his normal, small cap upon his head and his regular guardian robes, all with blue circuitry. He smiled at her, though his eyes were sad. There was surely nothing that could stop what was to come. She was about to step forward and take his hands within hers comfortingly, but the whole ground shook beneath her feet! Her eyes flew wide as she fought to keep her balance, Dumont fared no better, though they both remained standing after it was over.
Suddenly, they could feel it! The System had become unstable! Yori turned back to the city in a flash and instantly saw the white wall of light as it started at the end of the System and slowly worked its way towards the city!
The town and city were far too far away to reach! She only made it halfway through her field, staff in hand, when the first Programs started toward her! The very first being the first born as he ran to her, he only looked 9 User years old by this time. He was frightened and she dropped to her knees, arms open wide, her staff falling to the ground. She pulled him in close, kissing his brown hair, a hand upon his head as she whispered to him. "It's ok. Everything's going to be ok. Stay close."
His mother was running toward them and had reached them by this time. As the User Curious had adopted more User-style clothing, the mother wore a white apron, green shirt and blue skirt, her long black hair trailing behind her, holding her little girl's hand who looked about 3 User years of age. The mother looked happy with Yori's reaction, however, she was still worried. Seeing this, Yori stood and picked up her staff, gesturing for her and her daughter to come closer, having made a split-nano decision. Here. Here would be where the final moments would be, where any Program that could make it could be spared however long she could hold the white wall of formatting at bay. "Come closer." She said. "If you huddle close, I can protect you and many more if they come."
She knew it was useless, but she had to try! She had to do everything in her power to protect these people! Give them any moments more of life that she could offer, of peace and hope, to take away their fear! If she didn't, she wouldn't be able to live with herself in her last moments, nor in whatever afterlife greeted her! She simply couldn't bear the idea!
As she waited more Programs ran to them, yet there were so few in comparison to how many were within the System! She watched, horrified, unable to look away, as the white wall hit the city! She could hear the screams in the distance, see the pieces of buildings being torn away and up, into the white wall, where they crumpled to nothing altogether. She felt it was her duty to at least be there for them in this way as she wondered how many Programs were in those buildings, how many were flung into the wall from the streets, how many were huddling, alone and scared as the wall came for them.
These things gripped her heart in fear unlike any other. She wanted, no, needed to protect them! Yet, if she were even to spare a few, she had to stay where she was and wait for them to come to her. This was something that she was certain would stay with her soul. A fear of others being alone and afraid and unable to protect themselves, and she couldn't be there to help.
As she looked on, she realized that the System knew light like it had never seen before! The blackness that had filled the sky was now filled with light, and the casing of their world was now fully visible! It flashed with living circuitry that ran along what looked like an uneven motherboard in a dome-like shape.
Finally, the last Program ran from the town into the group and Yori hesitated. If even one Program could make it, she had to leave them the chance! Once she put her shield up, the type she had to use wouldn't allow for her to alter it to let anyone in or out! But, as the white wall of destruction came closer, she realized she had to make a decision.
It was almost too late when she slammed her staff down, her clear blue energy shield rezzing around the small group, just covering them to give her more energy to hold the wall longer. But she did it just in time and waited for the wall to hit.
When it did, it hit her like a light train! Her energy instantly dropped and she swayed, almost losing control! But she held herself fast and screwed up her face in concentration to hold it off. As she held it, keeping her energy flowing, she started to calm, though her thoughts tumbled to those huddled around her. She looked down to her right and saw Dumont holding the first born's sister. Just now she noticed the little girl had her black hair up in pigtails, held on with tiny blue bows with white dots, she wore a dress to match and looked scared. Yori smiled down to her and said. "Everything will be alright." With the most loving and comforting voice and look in her eyes she ever had. Off to the side she noticed the mother holding her son tight, and offered her a comforting smile as well.
That's when she noticed her hands, they had started to become see-through, outlined in gold! No longer was her skin nor even bones present, they were like ghosts of energy as her shield sapped her energy!
Turning back to face the wall, she knew the entire System had been formatted now, save them, and instantly her mind became flooded with determination and fear! Fear is what kept her going, is what made her hold her shield in place! Fear for the Programs she was protecting, thoughts of them dying, her unable to protect them, knowing they counted on her, she couldn't let them down! She had to do everything she could to keep them alive, for as long as possible!
Doubling her efforts, she put as much energy into her shield as she dared and stood strong! But even then, her thoughts turned inward, back, to her Tron, her bondmate, and tears pricked her eyes. She started thinking a message to him, though she knew it wouldn't get through. She poured her heart and soul into her thoughts.
I'm so sorry I won't be here when you arrive! I'm so sorry you will never see what we've done with this world, the beauty of it! That I'll never be able to show you all that we have accomplished! I'm so, so sorry you will never see the children! Our little miracles that were bestowed upon us! That we won't be able to have a little boy of our own! I'm so, so sorry that I wasn't able to wait for you! That you will find nothing. She spat that word, knowing how much that would be true, so like he had feared when captured by the MCP. That I… Had died. She finished, all the while her heart and mind were screaming behind those thoughts, over and over again. I love you! A mantra she kept up even as she knew she couldn't hold on anymore and closed her eyes.
And all she knew was white.
They didn't know how long they were in stasis, the world frozen in time at the very last nano until finally, they came to in a very dark room. It seemed like it happened in a blink, as when in stasis, Programs are not aware of time, it's just, before stasis and after stasis, it's as though time has been paused and started again.
The room was full of boxes, and to their right, facing the door to the front, or, bottom of the room, there was a wall with small windows lining the top, all painted black. The reason for them being there was near the door, Lora's laser had somehow been moved and compacted to fit within it! Some Users must have stolen the server they were on and transported it here! Somehow they must have connected it to another HD or server to use Lora-Prime's technology and algorithms as well as the ones Yori shared with her to materialize them here!
They looked at themselves, immediately feeling the difference in this world. They were all in User-style clothing and held no circuitry upon them whatsoever and Yori's arms were miraculously whole. She looked at them in wonder, questions running through her mind as to why.
The feeling of the world seemed darker to them, but Yori recognized it, what she didn't recognize were the feelings coming off of the Users nearing the room! They all felt it! It was horrible! Like they didn't see the Programs as people, their intents, to use them in experiments, slaves, that they would do unspeakable things to them! It made them sick, a feeling they'd never had before as their stomachs literally hurt.
They all turned to each other, the Programs with them that had been with the rioters now realized how it felt like to be viewed the way they viewed the children, and made the unanimous decision not to tell them about their ability to "feel" and to hide the children. Yori explained to them that they were human now, so they should not mention their world as well and they should be safe. It didn't stop their fear nor worry.
Quickly, Yori and the first born's mother gathered the three children that had escaped the System's format with them and hide them well at the back of the room, behind the boxes. "Shh. Don't come out until we say it's alright, and don't move." Yori told them. "If we're not here when the others escape, go to Lora-Prime and Alan-One. Lora-Prime looks just like me, and Alan-One looks like Tron. Remember when I showed you my memories of him?" She smiled at them. They nodded, and the two women turned to each other, nodded, and headed back into the main part of the room, just as the Users that had kidnapped them entered.
One of the Users wore a long white coat with large gloves over his hands and knee-high boots upon his feet. She had the worst feeling from him.
Dumont walked up to them, unafraid, and stood in front of all the Programs in the room, protecting them and as the head of the Council. He glared at them and spoke, his hands moving with his words. "Let us go! You have no right to keep us here!"
"Shut up!" One of the men with long guns spoke and shot him. "And that goes for the rest of you!" He glared into the room at the Programs.
Dumont stumbled back into the room and fell against the left wall. (The right wall to the Users). "Dumont!" Yori had just walked out from the boxes and ran to him, kneeling by his side, tears forming in her eyes.
The mother stormed up to the Users and shouted at them, told them who they thought they were killing someone! But they shot her two, three times, and she died before hitting the ground.
Dumont however held on longer, his breath raspy and shallow as Yori held her hand over his wound upon his stomach. She cried over him. "Don't die! You can't leave me!" She cried, he was her family! He doesn't deserve to die this way! He should be at home, where he would derez without suffering these effects, where he would disappear in a puff of light and fade away normally! Not like this, not like this… She lamented within her mind. Leaving behind a lifeless body that is all too eerie to comprehend.
He took in a raspy breath, held her hand and said. "It's alright. Yori. It'll be alright. Live. Find Tron. Protect, the people. They need you now…" He breathed in shakily. "I love you." He smiled, though she could tell he was afraid, and his eyes looked clouded. He died at that moment.
Yori cried harder still, now bent completely over him, she still held his now cooling hand. She felt when he went, and now felt an empty hole within her hear that she didn't think she would ever feel. It was just so wrong!
Gathering herself, she stopped crying and stood, the Users were now looking carefully at all of the Programs, and Yori came forward. Now the head of the Council, she was the last remaining leader of her people. It was her duty to protect them, and, she would. She stood before the Users and spoke in a commanding voice. "How you brought us here doesn't matter, we are people! And deserve to live and be free from oppression! How dare you hold us against our will! Once ENCOM and the authorities find out about this your plan will fall through! It's only a matter of time! Let us go!"
This only seemed to enrage the Users, but one man reached out and put his hand on the gun that was about to be raised by another. He walked up to her, and slapped her across the cheek then shoved her into the room! "How dare you defy us!" He shouted at her, his eyes leering. He stood straight and motioned with one hand for another User to come forward, then he pointed to a random Program.
The other User nodded and quickly grabbed up the Program, putting his gun to his back as they led him through the door. The rest of the Users dispersed with them and Yori was left in the centre of the room downtrodden. There was nothing she could do to protect her people, but she would still try! She wouldn't give up! She held no weapons, her staff was no longer with her and anyone who had a disk, had no way of accessing it in this world. But she could fight! She had her will and her abilities. She wouldn't let Dumont or these people down!
They waited for what seemed like ages, until, finally, muffled shouting came from behind the door, slowly growing in intensity, until the door opened. The male Program was shoved in, the doctor close behind shouting. "HE'S ONLY HUMAN!" Clearly distraught. The Programs could feel that he had wished for a scientific breakthrough, something alien to work on, something he would never get the chance to do in his lifetime. He wanted beings who wouldn't be under human law. He wanted a specimen.
Now, with the hope of the authorities protecting them, Yori stood up and tried to fight her way through the Users that now lined the door! "There's no reason to keep us now! Let us go!" She shouted, but was stopped by one man in particular, the one who had slapped her. He leered at her and she felt his intent. It made her stomach want to wretch. He wanted her for himself, to do unspeakable things to, as a slave. "You look so much like her." He spoke seductively. "Lora was the one I wanted, but you will have to do."
Yori stopped, reeled back and slapped him! "How dare you! How dare you assume I would be free! I'm taken! And I would never be with someone like you!" Fire was in her eyes as she spoke, her will as iron as ever.
Then, suddenly, there was a loud shot and she stumbled back. Looking down, she put her hand over her stomach… And it came away red. Her eyes went wide as a dizziness washed over her and she stumbled into the hallway.
Deep within the hallway to her right she could hear running footsteps and shouts! She knew, their Users were coming to save them! She smiled and fell to the ground.
The evil Users had all dispersed, most of them apprehended by cops as Lora and Alan came running to her side! Alan bent over her as she lay on her back on the hallway floor, and hazily, she thought he was Tron. She could barely see, it was so foggy, and tried to reach out to him. He was crying and gingerly motioning over her body, but, she couldn't tell if he had touched her. She felt so calm… So… Tired. So this is what it's like to die a User death. She thought as the commotion increased around her.
Her User bent over her other side, but she only had eyes for who she thought was Tron. Though… She felt a familial love from him, and an acceptance. Not like her Tron… Alan had certainly changed in the time since meeting her. She tried to reach up to cup his face, but she found she didn't have the strength to lift her arms. He took her right hand instead, the side he was on, and talked to her, tears streaming down his face.
He was speaking to her, though she could barely make out the words… They sounded like. "I'm sorry, so sorry." As he tried to stop the blood.
Lora spoke as well, hovering over her as tears fell from her eyes. "I'm so sorry! They formatted the server without telling us! Then it was stolen! I'm so sorry!"
Yori tried to smile and tell them it was ok, they hadn't failed her, they were here now, and to take care of the children, but, she didn't know how much of it passed her lips. Her voice felt hoarse and weak.
It happened all too quickly. Her eyes shut, and suddenly, she was floating over them, watching over the scene. She felt sad that she had died, and would never see her Tron again, but, she still had to make sure the children were alright.
She floated after them, as the children were revealed, and Alan and Lora's eyes widened and held them close. She followed them as her and Tron's Users took the children to their house, and then… Sought her Tron's feeling… She followed it through the city, to Flynn's Arcade, where she found a large, black computer hidden away. No wonder I couldn't find it. She smiled sadly. And I had passed here so many times… She found she couldn't enter the System, so she left, feeling, at least, that her Tron was alright. A tugging that she had been fighting pulled her upward, and she followed it, high into the sky.
She didn't know how she got there, but she soon found herself on top of a cloud, a large city in the distance, the sky above dark. She could feel from this city that it hosted all kinds of life, and they all held a purpose, none went bored or feeling unneeded.
Smiling, she looked on, when suddenly a male voice came from her left. "I created it for them." He said and she could feel that he meant Programs. She turned to him then and noticed he was an old man with white hair, though he didn't look like Dumont.
"Who are you?" She questioned, though she felt from him this incredible love and peace, a goodness like none she had felt before.
He answered. "I am God. Will you follow me?"
Somehow she understood that to mean spiritually, not physically, and she nodded without thinking. "Yes." She felt instantly trusting of this man, and, from his name, she felt he was the creator of all things. She knew she would, without question as she also felt a daughterly for him.
"Am I to go there?" She asked, curiously, pointing to the city.
He shook his head. "No. I am not yet done with you. There is still work for you to do, if you're willing. You will need to go back."
She looked at him surprised, but found she could accept his offer, even if she would not see her Tron. She had a purpose, that's what all Programs need. She wondered where she would end up. "I am willing." She answered.
"Good. I will help you along the way, you won't be alone. And remember. I love you." He said with a smile and kind, fatherly eyes, and suddenly she was in the User world, tiny, and crying in a hospital room.
A/N: I completely forgot to write this in! The babies were born completely naked, no suit or cap, they had hair and had no circuitry upon their skin save their symbol upon their chest, wherever it it lay, low or high or middle. They possessed no ability to create a suit until after they were born. Hence why we see very few Programs with circuitry on their skin, it was a choice, but usually saved for their suit, which, normal Programs are born with. I believe the babies received their suits or User-like clothing, (depended on the parents or children when they were old enough), when their parents were able to create them for them, until they were old enough to do it themselves.
Sorry if the end is offensive. It was just a dream, but I admit it -did- disturb me greatly, especially when the mother and child were beaten.
I have updated most of the chapters with parts of dreams I had remembered. Just in case you wanted to re-read them!
Also! I have never felt a connection with a person in a dream as I did when Yori protected the Programs from the format! I usually am with them, helping them make decisions, having their thoughts, but this time, we both had the same thoughts! Exactly the same! I didn't have to help her make the right decision, or pull her in another thought direction, this was SO different! When I woke up, I felt so happy with our decisions and how it went! That dream ended with the flash of light, so I thought she'd died, the other dream came later!